New York Film Locations

Desperately Seeking Susan - Special Report (Day 4)

9 April 2015

Love Save the Day store opened four decades years ago in a Manhattan neighbourhood that was a hippie haven. It endured as a psychedelic oasis even as the hippies disappeared and the neighbourhood, the East Village was transformed into a pricier and less scruffy place by the real estate boom that washed across many parts of New York City. Richard Herson was the owner of Love Saves the Day, a vintage clothing and bric-a-brac shop at the corner of Second Avenue and Seventh Street, where the Grateful Dead played on the speakers and Madonna picked up a pair of studded boots in “Desperately Seeking Susan.”

(Love Saves the Day Store in January 2009)

The store, which has since closed down was always cluttered from floor to ceiling with merchandise such as prom dresses, “Star Wars” figures, Barbie dolls, Transformers and characters from Pee-wee’s Playhouse. The store displayed retro toys and objects evoking nostalgia across generations. There were bellbottoms and platform shoes from the ’60s, Fraggle Rock toys and Smurfs that came free with McDonald’s children’s meals, old Playboy magazines, metal lunch boxes and copies of Life magazine.

(Love Saves the Day Store in January 2009)

Store closings often are tied to rising rents in Manhattan, but that was only one reason Love Saves the Day shut its doors. Following the death of Mr. Herson’s wife, Leslie, who had originally started the store, it was said that with her passing, the store was left without its soul. The Hersons met in 1977, when Richard responded to an ad in The Village Voice for an apartment Leslie was subletting. They met and instantly hit it off. In an article in 2005 in The Villager, a neighbourhood newspaper, Ms. Herson said the store’s quirky name had been chosen deliberately. “L.S.D.,” she said. “Absolutely. You have to understand, everyone was on something back then. And the Beatles had just come out with ‘Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds.’ ”

(119 Second Avenue in May 2009)

(119 Second Avenue in May 2009)

A wall of fame in the store had been autographed by Marc Jacobs, Debbie Harry, Joey Ramone, Quentin Tarantino, Björk, and Tim Burton. Mark Hamill, who played Luke Skywalker in “Star Wars,” signed, “Forcefully Yours.” Throughout the shop, signs warned against taking photos or using cellphones. A sign at the door alerted, “unattended children will be sold into slavery.”

(119 Second Avenue in May 2011)

(119 Second Avenue in May 2011)

Sadly in January 2009, the store closed its doors for the final time, leaving just a handwritten sign taped to the window announcing the closure and thanking its devoted customers. Love, it turns out, did not actually Save the Day after all.

(119 Second Avenue in May 2011)

At 3:17pm on Thursday 27th March 2015, a gas explosion occurred at Sushi Park restaurant. All three buildings on the block at the corner of East 7th Street and 2nd Avenue caught alight and were engulfed in flames. The fire department declared a seven-alarm fire and as many as 250 fire-fighters responded to the scene.

(Photo: Mark Lennihan - March 2015)

(Photo: Kevin Hagen - March 2015)

The explosion injured 22 people, including four FDNY members and EMS worker. The entire block which included the unit 119 formerly used by Love Saves the Day collapsed to the ground leaving nothing... but memories.

Special Report (Day 5) looks at Landmark Coffee Shop & Pancake House.


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